Pickup vs. Delivery
Most e-commerce shoppers reported they used pickup during the 2020 holiday season and more than half also shopped in-store, while just one in four used deliveries, according to 84.51’s April study. However, delivery dollar sales per household are on the rise, having increased 25% in the second half of 2020.
Connors says shoppers prefer pickup over delivery because of smaller or no fees, they have more control over timing and running in the store for more, and they can usually use paper coupons. Pickup and delivery per household combined grew by 17% in the 2020 holiday season compared to 2019, meaning there were more opportunities to be in the e-commerce basket.
Omnichannel Is Key
As COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed, in-store holiday shopping could see a boost even among digitally engaged households that still opt for an occasional in-store shopping trip (with item availability as the top driver in their decision). The convenience of e-commerce, particularly for pantry basics, will keep pickup and delivery in the mix, though.
The balance shift could be more pronounced among digital dabbler households, per 84.51, as they return to their pre-pandemic habits, than among digital champs, who were more likely to have already shopped pickup or delivery before the pandemic hit.
Plus, the holidays are likely to bring digital champs in stores. While pickup or delivery accounts for more than 71% of their overall shopping spend during the holiday period, it accounts for only 56% of their turkey spend, indicating even holiday shoppers want to hand-pick their turkey.
“The in-store experience isn’t going away,” Connors says. “As marketers are focusing on e-commerce, they also need to make sure to engage customers where they’re at, and where they’re at today is both [online and in-store].”
Other Notable Trends
With the pandemic spurring an increase in screen time, shoppers began flocking to social media sites, such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, for inspiration (particularly during the holiday season), in addition to discovering while browsing aisles in-store.
Savvy brands and retailers are now combining social and in-store to target shoppers. For example, Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice recently used Snapchat codes from social media company Snap to give shoppers an augmented reality (AR) experience within store aisles. At Walmart, an endcap display stocking Old Spice body spray, lotion and body wash communicated the brand’s “Smell Ready for Anything” tagline while depicting a Snapchat code. Shoppers could scan using the Snapchat mobile application to unlock AR experiences.
Kroger promotes festive and family recipes ahead of the holidays on its chain websites, linking to dedicated recipe pages with quick add-ingredient-to-cart functionality. The retailer encourages CPG marketers to understand how different cultures use their product lines and apply the Kroger Precision Marketing (its media network) advanced audience targeting tool to reach relevant households with Hispanic or Asian-American messaging, for example.
Hispanic Shoppers/Ethnic Marketing
Providing traditional ethnic recipes and a seamless path to purchase ingredients can be key, especially around the holidays. In an 84.51 study around December holidays in 2020, 60% of Hispanic shoppers said they typically prepare about half Hispanic and half non-Hispanic foods for everyday meals, but the holidays bring a greater focus on their roots and cuisine.
“From a retailer and brand perspective, it’s really important that you get it right during that season, because these customers are specifically looking for authentic items,” Connors says. “Not only that, it’s also a time where customers are looking to try new dishes or expand their recipe portfolio, so it’s an opportunity as a retailer or brand to bring new flavors to those customers.”
Connors’ advice for marketers is to double-down on content. “Creating content for on-site ad placements is a really relevant way to bring recipes and inspiration to customers as they’re building their basket,” she says. “It’s also really unique to e-commerce and not easily done in-store.”
Additionally, the holiday season is also a common time for retailers and brands to give back by creating or leveraging an existing holiday donation program. But they’re not only good for the communities they help — campaign donations by shoppers are associated with increased long-term loyalty, 84.51 says. Based on data from Kroger’s 2020 Zero Hunger Zero Waste cause campaign, the retailer saw a 68% higher increase in loyalty among previously “non-loyal” donors compared to similar non-donors, and 7% higher retention of loyalty among “top loyal” donors when compared to similar non-donors.
Unlike last year, people are excited to get together in person with friends and family for the holidays this year. An 84.51 study of 400 shoppers who have purchased groceries in the past year (conducted in May) found that 94% intended to gather for the Fourth of July holiday with the same number or more people than last year — an encouraging sign for the winter holidays as well.
Spending is also steady (at the time of the study), and one in three will travel more this holiday season. During the 2020 holiday season, spend per household per week increased compared to the rest of the year.
And without a doubt, the market will continue to evolve. “As e-commerce grows, you’re going to have more hybrid shoppers,” Connors says. “And they are not all created equal and need to be treated differently.”